I see icy ISS ice floes

By Phil Plait | April 23, 2012 7:00 am

I’ve been writing so many explanations about cool pictures from space that I think I’ll take a short break and just simply post this astonishingly beautiful shot, taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station, showing the curling and delicate-appearing ice floes in the ocean off the east coast of Kamchatka, swirling as they drift due to the eddy currents and wind:

[Click to enthalpinate.]

Our planet is pretty lovely, even in conditions that might kill us on the ground. Amazing.

Image credit: NASA

MORE ABOUT: ice floes, ISS, Kamchatka

Comments (7)

  1. Bee

    From a distance.

  2. Why am I attempting to visualize CFD equations in my head when looking at this?! :O Very beautiful picture though!

  3. The Bobs

    Near the top of the photo (as shown in the post), just left of center, you can see streaks of dark ash on the snow from Karymsky volcano.

  4. Pete Jackson

    I saw something very similar when flying across the Atlantic last March; off the coast of Newfoundland. Really beautiful formations.

  5. Messier Tidy Upper

    Ice floes? Ice flows indeed! ūüėČ

    Flows and swirls and forms these awesome baroque little .. is curlicues (spelling) the right word maybe?

    Clouds or ice is what I’m wondering too – somewhat hard to tell where cloud ends and ice starts. From the colour it could be ice, could be salt, could be sugar or sand! ūüėČ

  6. CR

    MTU, your post instantly reminded me of ‘sand art’ toys that were around in the US during the 1970’s, and I think into the 80’s. They weremade from two clear disks (ovals, actually) of Plexiglass/Perspex/whatever brand name you’re used to, with a thin layer of coloured sand–white and blue–loosely sadwiched between. The discs were sealed together and I think water was the medium that allowed the sand to pour/move/swirl about. Anyway, your comment coupled with the colours in the pic posted above made me think “Hey, I’ve made things like that when I was a kid!”

    I also agree that the difference between clouds and ice in this particular pic are minimal, which makes it all the more enchanting. I wonder how such a view would look in time lapse, if we could somehow stay stationed above that particular spot…

  7. jcm

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